Friday, 18 August 2017

The Origin Of Vampirella

Proving retcons are nothing new, here's two slightly different versions of the origin of the Bronze Age's premiere sexy succubus, Vampirella. This original joky piece is from Vampi's co-creator, professional fan Forrest J. Ackerman, with art by Tom Sutton, and for a while was the direction the strip was going to go in.

But Jim Warren soon realized I guess, that a joky voluptuous vampiress wouldn't have much of a future, so Budd Lewis and Vampi's all-time best artist Jose Gonzalez gently rejigged her with a slightly more serious ( tho' still fantastically pulpy ) origin. This piece, by the way, is a coloured reprint originally from the 1972 Vampi annual, that appeared in the slightly different UK release of the first issue.

'Course, years later, when Harris comics got the franchise, it was all rejigged again, and Vampi was now the daughter of Lilith apparently, born to fight the evil her Mother had unwittingly created.
Pish & tosh. Vampirella came from Drakulon. End of.


  1. Very neat to see both versions of Vampirella'sorigin.O always dug the fact that she was an alien, which explained her attitude much better.Shame Harris dropped that aspect.Probably why Harris' version was always inferior, but again those were done during the time of the Bad Girl 90s with characters like Shi and Lady Death..

  2. There were British Vampirella reprints?!
    I only ever recall seeing the US Warrens, and that was only in those new fangled sf/comic shop places.
    Could the character have been more designed to attract the interest of 12/13 year old boys? Funnily enough though, I understand her other co-creator was Trina Robbins...

    To be honest, I can't say the colour does a lot for Jose Gonzalez' work. But at least I finally got to read a Vampi origin - thanks for posting.


  3. I think just the first, sort of compilation issue was a UK thing, Sean, then we were into the USA Vampi issues ( as much as Warren ever came over here with the shitty distribution! )
    And yep, Trina was one of Vampi's co-creators, alongside Forry, Jim Warren himself and Frank Frazetta, all of whom had input. But it was Trina who designed the costume, I think ( or lack of it! )
    Neil, Harris had it's moments, by the way, like Joe Jusko's incredible painted 'Blood Lust', check that out those who haven't.

  4. I looked it up (thought it might make a nice change to actually know what I'm going on about before posting a comment) and it seems there were four issues of a Vampirella monthly published in the UK in early '75.
    By IPC no less... Pretty sure it wasn't racked next to Battle or Valiant in any newsagent I ever went into:)

    Btw, apparently that Gonzalez origin story was new, and never published in the US.


  5. PS Or erm... maybe that was just another way of saying changes had been made in the British version (damn - I knew I should have read your post again before making that second comment!)

  6. No Bother, Sean, I'm forver getting stuff wrong here! But at least we're definitive in our uncertainty...

  7. The Pepe Gonzalez Vampi story actually appeared in a special Vampirella book published simultaneously in Spain and the US in the early 70s. It was later reprinted in black and white in a later issue of Vampirella. The colours, by the way, were done in Spain. Later, the Warren staff would use Corben's method of colouring—and make a mess out of it!

    And Gonzalez got the job from the work he had done earlier in British romance comics (aimed at teenage girls), which caught Warren's attention.

  8. Here's an interesting theory on the origin of Vampi (though Claudette Colbert's name is misspelled):


    Chris A.

  9. Hmm, I'm not entirely convinced, but thanks for the heads up, Chris.